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writing for godot

The Serialization (6) of The 15% Solution: Section 2; The History. Chap. 3: The Real Drug War; Part 1

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Written by Steven Jonas   
Monday, 05 June 2017 10:43

President Trump's (carefully chosen) Attorney General Jefferson Davis P.G.T Beauregard Sessions (his full name) has just announced that he plans to re-intensify the "Drug War," starting off with the re-institution, across the board, of mandatory minimum prison sentences for non-violent drug law offenders, across the board. This is despite the facts that over the 50 years or so of the "Drug War" a) draconian imprisonment and prison sentences have done nothing to reduce the use of the Recreational Mood Alerting Drugs (primarily, marijuana, heroin and cocaine) against the use of which the "Drug War" is supposedly aimed and b) that it results in the imprisonment of non-white drug users in about a 3:1 ratio to white drug users. If he does give a major speech on his "new" program, the President who, in "The 15% Solution" was elected in 2000, devoted almost his entire Inaugural Address to the subject. I am confident that the new A.G. would find much of that text entirely to his liking.


In this installment of the book, some introductory comments are offered. The speech itself will appear in the next installment.

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Author's Commentary

The year 2000 marked the election of President Carnathon Pine, who came to be known as the Last Republican. A former Republican Senate majority leader, he was known for his sharp tongue, his war"'damaged leg, and over the course of a long and not otherwise distinguished career, his exquisite attention to politics rather than policy and governance. At age 74, he was the oldest man ever to be elected President.

He had run on a platform of "if not her, then me," "everything they do is wrong," and, referring to the series of natural disasters which had befall en America annually since Hurricane An drew of 1992 and the Great Floods of 1993, "God is pun ishing America for its sinful ways." This theme had be come increasingly popular for Right"'Wing Reaction aries since the mid"'90s. For example, in 1993 Christian Coali tion lead er Pat Robert son said this about the flooding in the mid"'west of the old U.S. (Right"'Wing Watch):

"I just grieve to see this happening and we have to pray for them [the victims]. But . . . the Bible makes it very clear. When you take God out of your life, and the Supreme Court clearly mandat ed God out, . . . and [when you] have a Presi dent . . . who is opening the flood gates of homo sexuality and opening as best he is able the floodgates of this horror of abor tion, . . . [then] the Bi ble says that the blood of the innocents will cry out against us and the land will be cleansed and the only way it will be cleansed is through the blood of others . . . So don't be surprised if you see natural disasters (700 Club, July 2, 1993)."

For the focus of their Year 2000 campaign, the Right"'Wing Reac tion aries took off from the Republican 1996 Presidential election plat form. That plat form itself was much like the 1992 Platform (Bond), which had essential ly been written by the Christian Coalition. However, by the Year 2000, the Republican Party, now the untrammeled promoter of Right Wing Reaction in the old U.S., had become even more blatant and in essence honest about what they were really about.

And so, in addition to their themes of the 90s, they organized vari ous ly around such additional ones as: increasingly unvarnished racism and xenophobia expressed in such slogans as "you know who is stealing your jobs, sucking up your taxes, and attacking you in the streets--and we do too, trust us--we'll take care of them," "the U.S. is a Christian nation," "the Bible is our fount of natural law," "taxes are inherently un"'American" and un"'Godly," "the free market way is the only moral way," and "poverty is the fault of the poor, and no one else."

This last position was utterly central to Right"'Wing Reactionary think ing. Its adoption was essential if the "poor" were to be character ized and main tained as the "enemy" of "hard"'working" Americans. (Of course, by constant Right"'Wing Reactionary propaganda contrary to the facts, in the minds of many the word "poor" was made synonymous with the word "black.")

But said straight out like that, it had a judgmental, some said "cruel," sound to it. A formulation designed to deal with that problem that became popular had first been uttered by one Michael Forbes, a Right Wing Reactionary member of the famous "Freshman Class" of the 104th Congress. Shortly after his first election to the House of Representatives from the First District of Long Island, NY he said (Henneberger): "We don't have actual poverty. We have behavioral poverty. Very few people out there go to bed hungry [emphasis added]."

This original thought, and others like it, comprised an internally con sistent ideology. Never mind that in some cases this ideology, as reflected in the Right"'wing campaign themes of 1992, 1996, and the Year 2000 seemed to many outside observers to be in conflict with the facts and an understanding of reality that had been built up over de cades.

Even more importantly for the future of the country, this ideology was in conflict with the basic, fundamentally American precepts of the Declara tion of Independence, and the Constitution from the Preamble through the Bill of Rights (see Appendices I and VII). But no oppo nents of the Right"'Wing Reaction in general or the Republican Party in particular ever made anything out of that finding or even seemed to recognize it.

The centrists, liberals, and progressives had been split, between the Democratic Party and a variety of "third parties of the left." They agreed on little except that Right"'Wing Reaction was a bad idea. Neither the Democrats nor the third parties presented any coherent pro gram for rescuing the continuously declining economy. And no major political organization, Democratic Party or otherwise, at the time recognized, publicly at least, the danger that the growing power of Right"'Wing Re action in general and the Religious Right in particular presented to the maintenance of Constitutional democracy in the United States.

Thus, the opposition to Right"'Wing Reaction failed to organize around the obvious theme, one with which they might well have been able to mobilize large numbers of Americans, especially non"'voters, to turn back the Right"'Wing tide: "only the Declaration of Independence and the Con stitution represent true American values, and only adher ence to those val ues will pre serve Constitutional democracy and the United States as we know it." (This theme was the basis of Dino Louis' politi cal theory and program, "Progressive Patriotism." Gener ally ignored at the time, in this book excerpts of Louis' own writing on it are presented in Appendix VII.)

For the Democrats, not only was there was no comprehensive na tional strategy. Instead, as the Bush Republicans had done in the elec tion of 1992, for example, all the Democrats offered was "we can do better than we have done--we deserve one more chance."

And the so"'called "left" was not much of an improvement. They offered neither a comprehensive national strategy nor a specific pro gram for the defense of Constitutional democracy. Rather, they pre sented a laundry"'list of complaints about both major parties; vague, worn"'out slo gans like "no justice, no peace," and "the people, united, shall never be defeated"; and, in no partic ular order, a laundry"'list of specific "fix"'it" programs from "jobs for all" to "affordable housing for all," all of which would cost much money. But they offered no politi cally via ble program for raising it, saying only "tax the rich and cut military and prison spend ing."

In this environment, "The 15% Solution" worked to perfection. With neither the Democratic Party or the left"'wing third parties offering via ble, politi cally attractive and salable alternatives to either then-pres ent policy or the longer-term Right"'Wing Reactionary threat, voter turn"'out for a Presidential election fell to an all"'time low in the year 2000: 39% of regis tered vot ers, repre senting 28% of the eligible vot ers. Former Sen ator Pine won the Presi dency with 53% of that vote, amounting to pre cisely 15% of those eligi ble, just as the original "Solu tion" had called for. With simi lar voting outcomes, the 15% Solution also lead to the election of in creased Republi can majorities in both Houses of Con gress.

Further, by this time almost all of the sitting Republicans had the endorse ment of the Christian Coalition and openly espoused its political agenda. That agenda, first presented in summary form in 1995 in a docu ment called the "Contract on the American Family" (PFAW; Porteous) featured the so"'called "morality" issues, for example: termi nat ing freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy, mandating prayer in the schools, government support of reli gious schools, banning sex education, denying the civil rights of homosexuals, and so forth. At the same time, its writers were giving almost equal billing to the prima ry interests of their major backers: further tax cuts, evermore deregu lation of private economic activ ity, ever"'freer rein to the reign of the profit"'driven "free market."

In late 1994, with the prospect at that time of a Republican take over of the Congress, the Coalition had briefly abandoned its primary focus on the "morality" agenda to concentrate on Right"'Wing economic is sues, such as tax cuts for the wealthy (DNC, 2/13/95). (It is fascinat ing that in his speech to the Republican National Convention in 1992, Pat Robertson had used the word "taxes" more than he had used the word "God.")

But after the election of the Republican Congress in 1994, in the run"'up to the 1996 Presidential elections that began in early 1995, the Coalition made it clear that "morality" (in its sense of the term) would always come before economics (Edsall). Since the Coalition controlled the core vote for the Republican Party, and showed that it could wield that control very effectively, every serious Republican Presidential can didate from 1995 onwards put Christian Coalition"'type "morality" first, even if he or she didn't really believe it. Thus Pine's heavy emphasis on the matter in the year 2000. (Knowing that Pine wasn't really one of theirs, his Christian Coalition supporters often referred to him in a term they had also used for Bob Dole: "transitional President" [Judis].)

Actually, that sort of maneuvering for Right-Wing favor was noth ing new for Re pub li cans. In 1980, George Bush was offered the Vice"'Presidential nomi na tion with the former Governor of California, Ronald Reagan, a deter mined opponent of freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy. Bush and his wife had been life"'long supporters of an organization called Planned Parent hood. It provided sex educa tion and elective pregnancy"'termination ser vices across the country. But Bush overnight switched to being an out"'spoken opponent of free dom of choice. And during his term as President the majority of his vetoes, the highest number ever recorded by a one"'term President, were related to that issue.

Just like President George H.W. Bush, his Republican contemporary by age, Carnathon Pine had no real policy alternatives for governing the country and no concerted plan to turn the economy around other than "cut taxes and end government regulation, interference, and red tape." This approach had already been tried under both Bush's predecessor, Reagan, and his successor, the Bill Clinton/Newton Gingrich tandem. (Newton Gingrich was the first Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives in the '90s.) It was, however, not a solution to, but a major cause of, problems. But no one seemed to recognize that fact, or if they did, make much of it.

Although not a true believer himself, Pine had leaned heavily on the Religious Right for support. Thus in his speeches he spent much time talking about "moral decay," "turning away from God," the "fail ure of the family," and (referring to the then still "legal" medical procedure elective termination of pregnancy before the time of fetal viability) the "slaughter of innocent children in the womb," as the primary causes of the problems the country faced. As has been pointed out previously, they were, of course, nothing of the kind. But given the weak opposi tion he faced, Pine was able to use the "moral decline" theme with great effectiveness.

The solution to the national problems that he proposed was "moral restoration as the savior of the nation." Although the slogan had a nice rhyming ring to it, it unfortunately had nothing real to offer in the way of problem"'solving. Pine sought to get around that problem by focus ing the "strategy" on one or two well"'defined areas of human behavior. A promi nent one for him was the use of the so"'called "illegal drugs," primarily marijuana, heroin, and cocaine.

All of the "recreational drugs," whether "legal" or "illegal," were non"'medicinal chemical substances used to achieve various desired alter ations of the conscious state. (Such drugs often caused undesirable short"' and long"'term outcomes as well.) They ranged from alcohol through tobacco to cocaine. (As is well"'known, today only those few of such substances that are relatively safe, unlike tobacco and alco hol, are widely used. The use of no psychoactive recreational drugs is promoted or adver tised, of course, and all are sold only on a non"'profit basis.)

Some saw the issue of the use of the "illegal" drugs as a moral one, while others viewed it as one of the public's health (alcohol and tobac co use being responsible for over 25% of all deaths at the time). But mor al or health issue, following a traditional old politically"'based American prac tice, government attempted to deal with the problem through the use of the criminal law. (Today, of course, this approach just makes no sense.) Thus, in the old United States all drug use was illegal, at least for some per sons. However, the laws were enforced differently for different drugs and different types of person (Jonas). That reality creat ed serious prob lems of its own, beyond those created by the action of the recreational drugs on those individuals using them.

For example, the sale of tobacco and alcohol to underage persons was seldom the focus of criminal prosecution, the non"'prescription sale and use of prescription psychoactive drugs, also "illegal," almost never. However, in that national program called the "Drug War," violations of the laws concerning the possession, distribution, sale, and use of the "illegals" were heavily en forced--for certain persons. Blacks and His panics were much more likely than whites to be punished for violating such laws.

Although the "War on Drugs" had little effect on drug use, it did wreak havoc on the minority communities in which it was waged, and filled the pris ons with (mainly minority) non"'violent drug offenders (Mauer and Huling). And it was very useful politically. Like President Bush, President Pine knew that. And so, he set out to resurrect a strate gy that had lain virtually dormant for the decade of the 90s. Mo bilizing the "mor al imperatives," Pine resolved to revitalize the "Drug War" by de claring "The Real Drug War."

"The Real Drug War" no more solved the problem of drug use/abuse as it was defined by Right"'Wing Reaction than did the origi nal "Drug War," prosecuted with varying degrees of vigor by Republi can Presidents from Nixon through Bush (Jonas). But the idea was very effective politi cally, just as its predecessor had been. It created an ene my, and that ene my could conveniently be defined as black (even though the overwhelming majority of the users of illegal drugs were white).

More importantly, as we shall see, the "Real Drug War" was very signifi cant in laying down the physical and psychological foundation for the coming Fascist Period. Pine felt that the drug issue would be so useful to him politi cally and institutionally that he devoted virtually his whole Inaugural Address to it. We present the complete text of that address (one of the briefest in Pres idential history) here.

References:

Berke, R.L., "Amid Placards and Texas Pomp, Gramm Makes it Offi cial," New York Times, Feb. 25, 1995.

Bond, R.N., The Republican Platform, 1992, Washington, DC: Republi can National Committee, 1992.

Davis, M., "Hell Factories in the Field," The Nation, February 20, 1995, p. 229.

DNC: Democratic National Committee, The DNC Briefing, "Republican Agen da," Feb. 13, 1995, p. 1.

Edsall, T.B., "Christian Coalition Threatens GOP," Washington Post, Feb. 1, 1995.

Hamill, P., "Send Them to Camp," New York Magazine, Sept. 15, 1993.

Henneberger, M., "You Must Go Home Again," New York Times, Feb ruary 8, 1995, p. B1.

Jonas, S., "The Drug War: Myth, Reality, and Politics," Connecticut Law Review, 27, No. 2, 1995, pp. 623 "' 637.

Judis, J.B., "Camp Bob," The New Republic, December 11, 1995, p. 15.

Massing, M., "The Two William Bennetts," The New York Review of Books, March 1, 1990, p. 29.

Mauer, M. and Huling, T., Young Black Americans and the Criminal Justice System, Washington, DC: The Sentencing Project, 1995.

NYT: New York Times, "Gingrich Suggests Tough Drug Measure," Au gust 27, 1995.

Pear, R., "Bush Pushes for Senator and Against Congress," The New York Times, Sept. 13, 1991.

PFAW: People for the American Way, Analysis of Christian Coalition Contract, Washington, DC: June, 1995.

Porteus, S., "Contract on the American Family," The Freedom Writer, June, 1995, p. 3.

Schumer, C., "The 1993 National Summit on U.S. Drug Policy," Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, Washington, DC, May 7, 1993.

Seelye, K.Q., "House Approves Easing of Rules on U.S. Searches," New York Times, February 9, 1995, p. A1.

Stan, A.M., "Power Preying," Mother Jones, Nov./Dec., 1995, p. 34.

Weinraub, B., "President Offers Strategy," The New York Times, Sept. 6, 1989, pp. 1, B7.

Wisotsky, S., "A Society of Suspects: The War on Drugs and Civil Liber ties," Policy Analysis (Cato Institute, Washington, DC), No. 180, Octo ber 2, 1992.

Right"'Wing Watch, "Quotables," Vol. 3, No. 12, Sept. 1993, p. 2.

Author's Notes

[1] Actually, in the mid"'90s a defendant's claim of violation of the "exclusionary rule" by police lead to the failure of the prosecution's case in only from 0.6% to 5% of the criminal cases of the time (Seelye).

[2]Author's Note: The whole of the Fourth Amendment protecting all persons in the United States from unwarranted search and seizure was eventually re pealed, by a pro.vi sion of the "Balancing Amendment" to the Constitution ratified in 2006 (see Chapter eight).

[3] Author's Note: In the Transition Era, the "camps solution" was proposed by many observers for many problems. And it was not the Right"'Wing reaction aries alone who climbed on this bandwag on. President Bill Clinton endorsed the idea of "boot camps" for dealing with youthful offenders of all types. A centrist colum nist of the time, one Pete Hamill, proposed that to solve the problem of homelessness then plagu ing the big cities, camps should be set for them in which both conven tional education and "moral instruction" would be provided (Hamill).

 

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